fancy dress time

so here is an exciting project i have to get working on very soon! my husband and i have been invited to a charity dinner in NYC (on his company’s dime) that takes place in just a few weeks. it’s a “black tie optional” type deal at the Grand Hyatt. and ya’ll know what that means…

I’M MAKING A FANCY DRESS

i’ve put all of my usual practical sewing oh hold (except for one summer dress i’m finishing up). i really do love the practical sewing i usually do, but i’ll gladly shelve it all for something more exciting! i agonized for a few days as to what kind of dress i should make—silk bias cut? over the top chiffon gathers? short? floor-length? too many options! i had a few silhouettes in mind when i headed out to the fabric store the other day and decided to go with something structured. then last night i browsed mccalls patterns and this grabbed me immediately:

gorgeous! it will work perfectly with my fabrics and should keep me plenty comfortable. plus fitting shouldn’t be too much of a hassle (famous last words…).

so here are the fabrics i’ve chosen…

IMG_3217

this is a poly/rayon burnout that will overlay a navy cotton sateen. then the dress will be fully lined in navy bemberg. since my overlay fabric has a nice sheen to it i nixed the idea of splurging on silks or compromising with poly satin. when confronted with $8/yd vs. $40/yd… well ya’ll know me too well. plus i could buy extra fabric for insurance without breaking the bank.

here you can see the burnout pattern

here you can see the burnout pattern

i’ll be doing the full skirt, and as for bodice… perhaps both. i haven’t pulled out the pattern pieces yet, but i think i’ll make the strap-y bodice from the sateen, then overlay the top portion with my burnout using the v-neck fuller coverage pattern pieces (minus any of the lace trim). i’ll have to sort out how that’ll work, but i think the idea has promise.

got me some sparkly shoes for my fancy dinner in a couple wks. now i need to remember how to walk in heels…

A post shared by lisa g. (@lisagaskamp) on

i already bought some sparkly new shoes, the only missing piece is a clutch of some sort… that’ll probably be a last minute detail.

guys, i am totes excited for our trip because… i’ll have plenty of time to work in some NYC fabric shopping! it’s kinda sad that we only live 3 hours away, and yet this will be my first real visit. of course i’ll visit the venerable mood fabrics, but what other shops should be on my must visit list? do tell!

—lisa g.

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23 thoughts on “fancy dress time

  1. dokucug says:

    Excellent choices – that is going to be just lovely. And I think a navy dress qualifies as practical, even if it’s a fancy dress. But why oh why couldn’t this event have happened at the beginning of May? Then we could have met up!! As for shops – I found Mood overwhelming (but I’m that kind of person – too much input fries my circuits), but I really liked B & J – probably because of the large Liberty selection!

    • lisa g says:

      when it comes right down to it, i’m a practical girl at heart. fortunately i do have a couple weddings this year, so this should actually be a more than one wear dress!

      i so wish i could have been in NY when ya’ll were there having fun–i would have LOVED that! i tend to get overwhelmed too, so we’ll see how i like Mood! i have a short list of specific things i want/need so hopefully i can focus. and mmmm… the liberty selection sounds awesome, i’ll add B&J to my list!

  2. Carol S says:

    If you’re willing to wait for NYC for the clutch there’s a grungy little store with a terrific selection of extremely reasonable bags ( many at $15ish) at the Southwest corner of 28th and Broadway. Add SIL thread, Pacific Trimmings and M&J Trimmings to your list.

  3. Kelly says:

    I am so excited for you, what fun!! I’ve been to Mood in Los Angeles and it was definitely worth it…I would love to make it to a NYC meet up one of these days! And I like your bodice overlay idea, can’t wait to see it!

  4. poppykettle says:

    OMG break out the marching band!!!! I adore your practical sewing and reading about your efforts in that department never, ever bore me. But this? Oh I’m so excited. Mostly because I love your pattern choice… and I know it’s going to be an absolute stunner of a frock, complete with quality stitching of course! I’m too easily suckered into project like this. And you’re speaking my language – a pattern with unfettered lines that lets amazing fabric do all the heavy lifting. That is my ultimate. I’ll be hanging on the edge of my seat for every word you care to share on this creation! The shoes are Fabulous with a capital F.
    As for shopping… I think you need to visit B&J, regardless of whether you purchase anything or not. It’s my idea of heaven – not only because of the amazing range, but for how well ordered and tidy the shop is! Another shop I really enjoyed but haven’t heard much about from the online community was New York Elegant Fabrics. I bought some stunning raw silk there for some work jackets for $22/yd, which I’m daydreaming about sewing up right now! M&J trimming is worth it just for the experience 🙂 Mood? Wasn’t for me. Maybe it was the mayhem mixed in with jet lag, but I just found it to be a bit overrated. I did buy my bridesmaid dress fabric from there. Don’t let my limited-experience opinion sway you though 🙂

    • lisa g says:

      i think i’ve watched too much project runway to skip mood, though i definitely thrive in a well-ordered environment! i’ll add those shops to my list, they sound great! and since i have plenty of time to do this dress justice, i look forward to some of the hand finishing and techniques i usually don’t need in my usual fare. hopefully i can get my act together enough to post the juicy details 🙂

  5. aleah says:

    It’s gonna be fabulous! I love that structured pleated skirt, and your overlay bodice idea is genius! I haven’t made a structured fancy dress in a long time, although it’s basically all I made when I started sewing (seems crazy now…), so I can relate to the excitement of a change of pace from practical knit sewing. Have fun and I can’t wait to see it!

    • lisa g says:

      i know, right? can’t believe i used to make almost exclusively dresses! this will be a fun change of pace, can’t wait to get started!

  6. Sam says:

    How exciting! I love making fancy dresses, and yours looks as if it going to be gorgeous. I love the idea of the strappy bodice in the satin with the overlay bodice from the burnout fabric.
    Fab shoes too!

  7. A Corrado says:

    You must add Elliot Berman Fabrics to your list, as well as Metro Textiles (tell Kashi I sent you!), oh, and Fabrics&Fabrics – everyone is so helpful…I kinda dare you to walk out of Metro without something…or a few somethings 😉 Have fun, and bring an empty suitcase! ArletteC

    Date: Fri, 30 May 2014 20:17:16 +0000 To: headmom30@hotmail.com

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